It’s the Holidays.

Whew.. its the holidays! You know how I can tell.. if the intense stress waves coming from my mother aren’t enough to tip me off. The many conversations over the phone about what to do with my high maintenance grandmother are. I mean.. I love my family.. well at least I have some warm feelings for certain members of this gene pool I happen to share some part with. Yet as we know.. there are just certain times its better to pretend like you have no clue who those people are or if you don’t look like the majority of your family like me.. just play its like your a friend visiting from out of town.

I admit I love the idea and the propaganda that the media spouts about what the holidays are supposed to be about. Yet.. the reality is so far from that glossy image- the over crowded stores with crazy people looking for the last god knows what. Kids screaming, whining in the aisles, “but mom you didn’t get anything for me,” oh yeah I remember being that kid.

Thank god now I am a grown up.. now my worries are.. can I afford to get the people I actually like a gift?
Prices have risen and the value of money has fallen – lets not forget its a freakin recession people.
So I settle for not going into further debt by making sure I can squeeze a nice gift in for the parental units – the best one I could afford, a few items for my co workers and then one for my good friends.

I still don’t have the money to get anything for anyone else.. and damn.. its my good friends birthday tomorrow.. I guess I need to figure something out- Thank god its pay day on the 30th.

Did I mention budgeting sucks?! Yeah it does.. Ya Allah.. forgive me for wishing to be an adult all the years I was growing up. I had no clue what the heck I was getting myself into – Seriously.

In the work arena- my youth are coming out of their shells.. some of them. Poor C.. her grandmother had a pace maker put into today and all she could do was cry. Alhumdualillah for my compassionate co workers- we sent her back to the hospital to wait for her to get out of surgery. M and JR are getting along just fine.. M is getting excited for his girl friend A to have their baby in May. I am overwhelmed and its not even my kid or me pregnant… teenage parents- no even graduated high school yet. May Allah guide and protect them. Ameen. They have so many odds against them- poverty, crime riddled neighborhood and I hope against hope that they make something of themselves.. go to college and get the heck out of the Oakland ghetto.

I get the pleasure of working on Xmas eve- which is nice.. more hours for AmeriCorps.. but still its crappy when everyone else gets time off. My boss flew of to Puerto Rico to be with her family and help her ailing grandmother. Whew.. out of the office and one less stresser for everyone as we have shifted from roll out on the campaign to planning central. So much is due in January.. remind me to remind my self its just a job and I have a life.

Back to the holidays- as a convert to Islam.. I struggle between Islam and my family and my own nufs and desires. I love the smell of the Christmas tree, the sounds of carols and presents – of course the food.
How do I say no to my family? I am horrible at it. I know as a Muslimah.. I should say no but then I am torn because I want to be with my family at this time. Its like cutting off a limb.

The way I justify it.. is because my family has nothing to do with the religious aspects at all. The only time my family goes to a church is to get married- its tradition.. or have their funeral in a church- its tradition.

My mom asked me.. well can Muslims be cremated? I said.. to my knowledge no. Burial is the way only way to go.. and make sure to get 5 knots in your shroud.. not the minimum 3.. don’t want to be flashing anyone after death you know?

And still with more holiday fun to go.. all of the Islamic conferences just happen to happen at this time.. I mean Muslims need something to do when not opening presents right?

Well for a poor broke Muslimah like myself.. it means looking longingly at the brochures and being needlessly invited via Facebook and the many Muslim lists on the web.. to something I can’t afford to do. Where is the cheap housing for the single muslim sisters huh? MSA West rocked.. why? Because it had the brothers sleep in the masjid and the sisters at the other sisters houses.. kept the cost down for attending in this tight times – AND this was before the US admitted a recession!

So enough sobbing about the holidays.. I have work to do.. many presents to wrap and peek at under the tree.. while wondering.. why do I have to work tomorrow?

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